Swallow the Sea A Twisted Game Review


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Do you think the ocean is a beautiful, astonishing place? Well, be prepared to get a cold, harsh-flavored truth pie thrown into your face.

Swallow the Sea is a weirdly charming and wickedly twisted short game developed by Maceo bob Mair and Nicolas Delgado. In this game, you're following the journey of a humble egg cell called Burros as it travels across a bloated sea of bizarre and anthropomorphic fish--we can all relate to this, right? Of course!

joseph-barrientos-oQl0eVYd_n8-unsplash.jpgDo you think the ocean is a beautiful, astonishing place? Well, be prepared to get a cold, harsh-flavored truth pie thrown into your face.

Swallow the Sea is a weirdly charming and wickedly twisted short game developed by Maceo bob Mair and Nicolas Delgado. In this game, you're following the journey of a humble egg cell called Burros as it travels across a bloated sea of bizarre and anthropomorphic fish--we can all relate to this, right? Of course!

Yet despite the game's oddball premise, it is entertaining enough to catch our attention. Here is our review of Swallow the Sea.

Overview
Do you remember Feeding Frenzy? For those who don't know, Feeding Frenzy is an arcade-style feeding game series that became quite popular in the mid-2000s. Swallow the Sea is reminiscent of that, just in a more unsettling way.

In this game, your goal is quite simple: to prey on smaller life forms and get larger and stronger in the hopes of being born one day. Yeah, a sort of fight your way to birth sort of situation. You start pretty small at first, and most other creatures in the game's ecosystem can eat you.

When you get to be big enough, though, it's your turn to get revenge and hunt them instead.

Gameplay
The game's control is notably straightforward. If you're using an Xbox joystick, you basically only need two buttons two play:

your analog stick to move around;
one of the ABXY buttons to dash or smash.
Though you only have two types of action, you can still do several maneuvers. You can eat other characters, evade being preyed upon, and break walls.

Health and Checkpoints
As for how the game treats lives and resets when you're hurt by the environment or other creatures, you don't immediately die--which is pretty convenient considering how vulnerable you are at the beginning. The game has a Call of Duty-style health system where your health will gradually regenerate over time, making the game feel easier.

The game also has checkpoints along the way. You don't have to worry too much about dying if you do die. That said, if you want to up the game's difficulty, you can enable the timer in Settings to make the playthrough even more challenging.

Granted, the timer is only for recording purposes. The game won't penalize you for going over a certain timestamp. You can take as long as you want.

Game Exploration
The game does require exploration skills; it's not just "eat everything" like Pac-Man. When you're stuck in an area, pay attention to your surroundings. If there seems to be no open road, look for a barrier that you can break through (a bone object with yellow spherical flesh sticking to it).

If you find a bone wall that is unbreakable (the sticking spherical flesh is still red), it means you need to devour more enemies in your current area.

Enemies
There are several kinds of enemies you can encounter in this game.

Nooty and Noty serve as the only nourishment you can get at first. Their shape and color are quite similar to Burros, your character.
Ubb and its incarnations Ubble can toss you around, assuming you're not big enough to eat them.
Vobble is a reddish, worm-like creature with sharp teeth that can suddenly glide at you.
Slither Sucker will stick itself to you to block your way.
Gump is basically a moving thorn similar to pufferfish.
Gump Sucker is a combination of Slither Sucker and Gump.
Boss
Orro serves as the only boss of the game (and has important significance to Burros). It's a terrifying, big, purple serpent. When it first shows its menacing grin, just run away from it! Don't worry. Later, you'll get the chance to give it a taste of its own medicine.

Narrative
One compelling thing about this game is how awe-inspiring it is. For a game with no dialogue, Swallow the Sea has a much more compelling story compared to a lot of narrative-based games. It may seem like an uncharacteristic thing to note about a monster-eat-monster game, but you might think so too once you actually play it.

Story-wise, this game packs a considerable amount of surprises and plot twists for a short game. I'll be surprised if you don't feel some sort of emotion coursing through your body while following along Burros' journey. Well, except for trauma that is.

Hint: Is anyone in the mood for some cannibalism?

Music
Another powerful ingredient of this game is the background music, which nicely complements the sea's eerie and creepy atmosphere. The BGM dynamically changes depending on a couple of factors where you are and how close you are to the boss.

Pacing
Another aspect to appreciate is the game's pacing. After your first boss fight, the next area you enter will be filled with nothing but noties and nooties, both of which serve as food. This creates a nice intermezzo for the next challenge you'll face.

Cons
The only true downside this game has is its extremely short duration. Under normal playthrough, you can finish Swallow the Sea in about 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how good you are. Granted, it's a free game and has a small download size.

Considering those factors, I feel like I don't really have the right to complain about the game's length. That said, the game has a very interesting premise, so I can only hope that it will see a full release sometime in the future.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
Swallow the Sea is a worthwhile experience that you need to taste at least once, no matter what type of games you are normally into. Its short duration might seem to be a bit of a disappointment, but it's free, and it's a relatively small game, size-wise. Even with its dreadful tone, Swallow the Sea is still astonishing and heartwarming in a weird way.

Seriously, just play the game. No more words need to be said.

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